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  #11  
Unread 08-05-2019, 10:49 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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A couple small changes made. Matt or Aaron or whoever: Would the "Tiber/cyber" thing at the end still clunk for you if I added a stanza before the last stanza, setting up the theme of "saving the world" on hard drive while the real world goes to shambles?

Also, would anyone prefer "Beleaguered: Lines from the Tiber Valley" as title? That was the title I had until shortly before posting.

Jake, I kind of like the breathlessness of that passage where you suggest adding a pause, but I've added a comma after "us" to help a bit with the mouthfulness of the sentence. I'm not seeing the problem with "amputate"; if you have a moment could you explain what you feel isn't working with that word choice? The last stanza plays with founding myths/doctrines of western civilization in the fantasy setting of the poem.

Matt, I'm glad you liked this. I've added the quotes at "for the people," which I agree helps clarify. Thanks for explaining why "Tiber/cyber" isn't working. I agree, now that I can see it. Would adding that stanza I mention above make it better, or do you think I should jettison that ending altogether?

Thanks again.

Last edited by Andrew Frisardi; 08-05-2019 at 11:52 PM.
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  #12  
Unread 08-06-2019, 12:32 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Andrew,

I made it back. I like this unevenly - not my favorite of yours, I'm afraid, at my end. I'll see if I can put some concrete thoughts here.
"wait . . . what ... weighty" feels a bit awkward to me. I'm not sure how the clouds are traveling "to the pressing crowds / of anonymity." I do like the close of S 1 though.
S 2. The poem gets a bit over-reliant on Latin tags for me, and "inseminated" I don't much like, it reminds me of a million conference papers. "politicians "for the people" (sic)" I again find awkward. This verb is new to me: "swags," and I'm without my OED. "cumulus-cloudy" doesn't grab me as a coinage.
S 3 or 4. "the last will be the first / to drown" I think is splendid, and I like the ending fine.
So in sum: the mood appeals to me. I think it works well for poetry. A few coinages and turns of phrase bug this reader; others I like fine or actively love. I feel this many Latin tags may not be needed. The language has a certain grandeur in keeping with your setting. Lots to like here, but you see where I stumble.

Cheers,
John
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  #13  
Unread 08-06-2019, 12:47 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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John, thanks for commenting. A quick question and I'll think about your other points soon: Does changing "to" to "toward" in line 3 help make sense of it? The speaker is in Upper Lazio watching clouds go toward Rome (the "crowds of anonymity").

"Swag" has always stuck with me from Blake:

Hungry clouds swag on the deep.

(It means "sway heavily.")
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  #14  
Unread 08-06-2019, 12:50 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Andrew, yes, I think your sense comes through better for me that way. Thanks for the Blake and the new verb.

Cheers,
John
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  #15  
Unread 08-06-2019, 07:24 AM
Jake Sheff Jake Sheff is offline
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Andrew,

I don't have a problem with amputate. I like it.

The comma you've added seems to do the job.

Glad my understanding of the final stanza was the correct one!

Best,
Jake
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  #16  
Unread 08-06-2019, 08:20 AM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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A think cyber is a fitting conclusion, Andrew.

Nemo
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  #17  
Unread 08-06-2019, 10:25 AM
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Daniel Kemper Daniel Kemper is offline
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I hate to linger on the last two lines and maybe redundant thinking...

is spotted somewhere on the River Tiber,
headed to sea with two of everything thatís cyber

1. The inversion of Tiber river, is archaic--which is not necessarily bad in a poem that seeks the span of history and present. But it's unprepped, imo. some of the rest of the poem uses elevated language, but somehow for me, this stands out.
2. partly stands out because the line ends on it. big pause.
3. I don't hear anyone say, "that's so cyber" (e.g.) so that erodes the effect of the conclusion
4. big pause at end. not bad, in general, but if paired with the first line, that makes a hard landing.

I wonder if the syntax could be rearranged to a different end-rhyme altogether- but absolutely maintaining the cyber / tiber, but as an internal rhyme to help power up the final couplet and bind them together more tightly

take/toss as always
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